We are living in an age of Start Ups. One thought has been crossing my mind for a long time, being inspired by the signs of the time. Why not start a Pastoral Innovation Lab? Why not use the best resources of human sciences to enrich and enhance pastoral care in the Parish where I work as a Parish Priest. We do have several resourceful people who do have expertise in human sciences among the
People of God. Hence, best of human sciences could produce effective and grace-filled pastoral care. With these high and utopian ideals, a Pastoral Innovation Lab can become a sincere effort to actualize synodality in our pastoral ministry.
Pastoral Innovation Lab can bring into conversation theology and best pastoral practices with psychology, sociology, history , economics and mangement sciences etc. Such an Innovation Lab will nuture the spirit of the pastoral care givers as well as the care recievers in our Parish. In true spirit of synodality, thus, Pastoral Innovation Lab will work to innovate, discover and inspire best pastoral practices that will effectively, identify, study and respond to the several pastoral challenges as well as suggest workable practical solutions
to them. These suggestions can be furthered discussed in the Parish Council as well as Small Christian Communities and then implemented in our Parish .
The way people listen and recieve the Gospel is rapidly changing by the day. The growing mass media had massified our people. But with the growth of social media, people began to engage media and become both producers as well as consumers of our content of Media. But with democratization of content production as well as its consumption, we stepped into apost-truth world. This made fake news the order of the day that unordered our social and political as well as personal lives. Due to this and other reasons the Gospel remains at a distance in our lives. Our attention span is shortened by the attention industry that runs on the wings of the Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like. Hence, a pastoral lab may enable us to adequately respond to these attention centric challenges every pastoral care giver faces. These challenges will only multiply in a world driven by AI
A Pastoral Innovation Lab may become a space to generate new ideas, creative pastoral practices, and examine older defunct pastoral practices. All this can be done in a true spirit of experimentiation and discenment. Such a pedagogy that is honest and purposeful can spring forth designs, models and effective practices of pastoral care which may bring about a transformation of the congregation, neighbourhoods, families and individuals in our Parish. It may also provide possibilities to introduce pastoral practices that reach out to old, sick and lonely, children, youth and married couples as well profesionals in our Parish. Besides, it can ignite our thinking to innovate ways of reaching out and sharing the Gospel with our people of other faiths as well raise our prophetic voice against injustice and oppression. Therefore, time has come to set up a Pastoral Innovation Lab in our Parish.